Page images
PDF
EPUB

ODE VII.

FOR MUSIC

IRREGULAR.

I.
“ Hence, avaunt, ('tis holy ground)
Comus and his midnight-crew,
And Ignorance with looks profound,
And dreaming Sloth of pallid hue,
Mad Sedition's cry profane,
Servitude that hugs her chain,
Nor in these consecrated bowers
Let painted Flatt'ry hide her serpent-train in flowers.
Nor Envy base, nor creeping Gain
Dare the Muse's walk to stain,
While bright-eyed Science watches round:
Hence, away, 'tis holy ground !"

II.
From yonder realms of empyrean day
Bursts on my ear th' indignant lay:
There sit the sainted sage, the bard divine,
The few, whom Genius gave to shine
Through every unborn age, and undiscover'd clime.
Rapt in celestial transport they,
Yet hither oft a glance from high
They send of tender sympathy
To bless the place, where on their opening soul
First the genuine ardour stole.
'Twas Milton struck the deep-ton'd shell,
And, as the choral warblings round him swell,

This Ode was performed in the Senate-house at Cambridge, July 1, 1769, at the installation of his Grace Augustus-Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Grafton, chancellor of the University.

Meek Newton's self bends from his state sublime,
And nods his hoary head, and listens to the rhyme.

III. « Ye brown o'er-arching groves, That Contemplation loves, Where willowy Camus lingers with delight! Oft at the blush of dawn I trod your level lawn, Oft woo'd the gleam of Cynthia silver-bright In cloisters dim, far from the haunts of Folly, With Freedom by my side, and soft-ey'd Melancholy."

IV.
But hark! the portals sound, and pacing forth
With solemn steps and slow,
High potentates, and dames of royal birth,
And mitred fathers in long order go:
Great Edward, with the lilies on his brow
From haughty Gallia torn,
And sad 'Chatillon, on her bridal morn
That wept her bleeding love, and princely 'Clare,
And "Anjou's heroine, and the "paler rose,
The rival of her crown, and of her woes,

• Edward the Third, who added the fleur de lys of France to the arms of England. He founded Trinity College.

Mary de Valentia, Countess of Pembroke, daughter of Guy de Chatillos, Comte de St. Paul in France : of whom tradition says, that her husband Audemar de Valentia, earl of Pembroke, was slain at a tournament on the day of his nuptials. She was the foundress of Pembroke College or Hall, under the name of Aula Mariæ de Valentia.

" Elizabeth de Burg, Countess of Clare, was wife of John de Burg, son and heir of the Earl of Ulster, and daughter of Gilbert de Clare, earl of Gloucester, by Joan of Acres, daughter of Edward the First. Hence the Poet gives ber the epithet of “princely.” She founded Clare Hall.

" Margaret of Anjou, wife of Henry the Sixth, foundress of Queen's College. The Poet has celebrated her conjugal fidelity in the former Ode: V. epode 2d. line 13th.

w Elizabeth Widville, wife of Edward the Fourth (hence called the paler rose, as being of the house of York). She added to the foundation of Margaret of Anjou.

And seither Henry there,
The murder'd saint, and the majestic lord,
That broke the bonds of Rome.
(Their tears, their little triumphs o'er,
Their human passions now no more,
Save Charity, that glows beyond the tomb)
All that on Granta's fruitful plain
Rich streams of regal bounty pour'd,
And bad these awful fanes and turrets rise,
To hail their Fitzroy's festal morning come;
And thus they speak in soft accord
The liquid language of the skies.

V.
“ What is grandeur, what is power?
Heavier toil, superior pain.
What the bright reward we gain?
The grateful memory of the good."
Sweet is the breath of vernal shower,
The bee's collected treasures sweet,
Sweet music's melting fall, but sweeter yet
The still small voice of Gratitude."

VI. Foremost, and leaning from her golden cloud, The venerable' Marg'ret see! “ Welcome, my noble son, (she cries aloud) To this, thy kindred train, and me: Pleas’d in thy lineaments we trace * A Tudor's fire, a Beaufort's grace. Thy liberal heart, thy judging eye, The flower unheeded shall descry,

* Henry the Sixth and Eighth. The former the founder of King's, the latter the greatest benefactor to Trinity College.

y Countess of Richmond and Derby; the mother of Henry the Seventh, foundress of St. John's and Christ's colleges.

· The Countess was a Beaufort, and married to a Tudor: hence the application of this line to the Duke of Grafton, who claims descent from both these families.

And bid it round heav'n's altars shed
The fragrance of its blushing head:
Shall raise from earth the latent gem
To glitter on the diadem.

VII.
Lo, Granta waits to lead her blooming band,
Not obvious, not obtrusive, she
No vulgar praise, no venal incense flings;
Nor dares with courtly tongue refin’d
Profane thy inborn royalty of mind :
She reveres herself and thee.
With modest pride to grace thy youthful brow
The laureate wreath, that Cecil wore, she brings,
And to thy just, thy gentle hand
Submits the fasces of her sway,
While spirits blest above and men below
Join with glad voice the loud symphonious lay.

VIII.
Through the wild waves as they roar
With watchful eye and dauntless mien
Thy steady course of honour keep,
Nor fear the rocks, nor seek the shore:
The star of Brunswick smiles serene,
And gilds the horrors of the deep."

• Lord Treasurer Burleigh was chancellor of the University, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth.

ODE VIII.

THE FATAL SISTERS.

FROM THE NORSE TONGUE.b

Now the storm begins to lower,
(Haste, the loom of hell prepare,)
Iron-sleet of arrowy shower
Hurtles in the darken'd air.

Glittring lances are the loom, Where the dusky warp we strain, Weaving many a soldier's doom, Orkney's woe, and Randver's bane.

b To be found in the Orcades of THORMODUS TORFÆUS; HAFNIR, 1697, folio: and also in BARTHOLINUS.

Vit ER ORPIT FYRIR VALPALLI, &c. The design of Mr. Gray in writing this and the three following imitative odes, is given in the Memoirs of his Life. For the better understanding the first of these, the reader is to be informed that in the eleventh century, Sigurd, earl of the Orkney Islands, went with a fleet of ships and a considerable body of troops into Ireland, to the assistance of Sictryg with the silken beard, who was then making war on his father-in-law, Brian, king of Dublin : the Earl and all his forces were cut to pieces, and Sictryg was in danger of a total defeat; but the enemy had a greater loss by the death of Brian, their king, who fell in the action. On Christmas-day, (the day of the battle) a native of Caithness, in Scotland, saw at a distance a number of persons on horseback riding full speed towards a hill, and seeming to enter into it. Curiosity led him to follow them, till looking through an opening in the rocks he saw 'twelve gigantic figures resembling women : they were all employed about a loom; and as they wove, they sung the following dreadful song; which, when they had finished, they tore the web into twelve pieces, and (each taking her portion) galloped six to the north and as many to the south. These were the Valkyriur, female divinities, servants of Odin (or Woden) in the Gothic mythology. Their name signifies chusers of the slain. They were mounted on swift horses, with drawn swords in their hands; and in the throng of battle selected such as were destined to slaughter, and conducted them to Valkalla, the hall of Odin, or paradise of the brave; where they attended the banquet, and served the departed heroes with horns of mead and

ale.

« PreviousContinue »